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Japan: Child Pornography Law Amendment Discussed

(Jan. 29, 2010) “Japan is one of the world's biggest suppliers of child pornography and the second biggest consumer after the U.S.” (Justin McCurry, Japan to Outlaw Possession of Child Porn, GUARDIAN, Mar. 10, 2008, available at The possession of child pornography is not at present illegal in Japan. The Act on Punishment of Activities Relating to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Protection of Children (Child Pornography Law) punishes transfer, sales, and production of child pornography, but not possession. (Act No.52 of 1999, as amended, art. 7. The unofficial translation of the law is available at the government's website at

Since 2008, the Japanese government has moved for amendment of the law to make the possession of child pornography illegal. The former U.S. ambassador to Japan, J. Thomas Schieffer, urged the Japanese government to amend the law to punish possession of child pornography. (McCurry, supra, & J. Thomas Schieffer, Japan Must Penalize Possession of Child Porn, ASAHI SHIMBUN, Jan. 1, 2009, available at U.S. Embassy in Japan's website, The most recent version of the bill to amend the Child Pornography Law has been pending in the Diet (Japan's parliament) since 2009. The Cabinet set up a Working Team on Anti-Child Pornography Measures on December 22, 2009. (Press Release [in Japanese], Chief Cabinet Secretary (Dec. 22, 2009), available at